Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sad and Disturbed by Some Current Issues

Over at Paradosis there's been a flame war going on over the Antiochian hierarchs' apparent bias in openly condemning Israel and not condemning equally other forces of violence and mayhem in Lebanon such as Hizb Allah. I am saddened about the issue James raises, and also the back and forth shots folks have taken at one another over this issue in the comments.

As an Orthodox Catechumen in an Antiochian diocese, I am also deeply saddened to see articles like this:

Syria's Christians rally behind Hizbollah

I am not naive about the realities of Middle East politics, nor about historic sentiments about Arab unity amongst, particularly, the Arab Christian population, and as I discussed in earlier posts, there is arguably a strong drive by non-Muslim groups in predominately Muslim nations to exhibit loyalty to the state due to the presumption of less-than-loyal adherence inherent in not following the dominant religion. Moreover, Christian and Muslim Arabs have for many years consistently been frustrated by Israel, for a variety of reasons.

I am also hardly naive about the possibilities of Reuters being the victim of a media bias in its correspondents in the Middle East, or of Syrian Christians saying, defensively and protectively, all sorts of things on the news that they don't really believe. Such a report thus may be suspect, or at least should be subject to further confirmation from other sources.

Nevertheless, what does Christianity have to do with the likes of Hizb Allah in its conflict with Israel or its goals to promote a particular rather Persian-oriented view of Islam in بلاد ألشام, i.e., Greater Syria? And, when Christians fleeing villages in South Lebanon reported that Hizb Allah was using their villages as launch points for their rockets, drawing counter-battery fire on the Christians rather than predominately Muslim villages - where, pray tell, was the outcry of the Damascus-based Antiochian Patriarchate against Hizb Allah violating principles of the law of armed conflict and moral decency? If the Church is going to speak out about the impact to civilian populations of indiscriminate targeting on Israel's part, should she not also speak about Hizb's part? Particularly here in the U.S. she CAN speak, where she is not subject to the same scrutiny of internal security forces as one might expect in Syria.

Hmmmm . . . perhaps it was because those villages were Maronite Catholic Christians, not Orthodox . . . I hope not, but if so - sadder and sadder. The Christians of those villages did not hesitate to condemn Hizb Allah's tactics, whilst not condoning Israeli tactics either. Where was the voice of the North American Antiochian Diocese?

I become concerned when I read articles like the one above, from Reuters - if it's defamatory and false, where's the counterpoint from the Antiochian Church (here in the U.S., in Australia, in Syria, in Lebanon?) . . . and what actually does happen to the money that the North American Antiochian Archdiocese sends to the Middle East? I start to want to have transparency about how that money gets spent.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Scrivener said...

Briefly touched on this issue with my godfather over lunch today. There is an imbalance in the American archdiocese on this issue, as is apparent to most of us. True, the Orthodox Christians in the area don't live in northern Israel, but in souther Lebanon. But still... It's a concern for me, too.

2:30 PM  

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